A buoyant trade is reported for dairy heifers as demand for replacement stock appears to be trumping uncertainty over milk prices for the year ahead.
Jim Bushe of New Ross Mart said fierce competition between established milk suppliers and new entrants meant that very strong prices had been paid for heifers this spring.
He said prices generally ranged from €1,400 to €2,000, with the quality pedigree Friesian stock making up to €2,250 in cases.
There has been greater interest in British Friesians this year, with good quality stock making up to €1,800.
Mr Bushe said nice in-calf British Friesian heifers are making up to €1,700 and €1,750/hd. There were 103 head on offer at last Friday’s sale. The freshly calved heifers were making from €1,400 to €1,800, and the real top class heifers, mostly pedigree, were selling from €1,700 to €1,900. Mr Bushe said the small number of in-calf heifers were making from €1,060 for the late calvers, up to €1,600 for heifers on the point of calving.
He maintained that high cull cow prices had also contributed to the strong market for replacements.
Well-fleshed young dairy cows have been making €300 and €400 with their weight, or between €900 and €1,000/hd.
Tom McCarthy of Cork Marts said numbers of dairy replacements had not really taken off in the southwest.
Nice pedigree stock, with a good EBI, was easily making €1,500 to €1,600/hd, Mr McCarthy said. Non-pedigree animals were generally making around €1,350 to €1,500/hd, he added.
There had been an expectation among some in the dairy sector that falling milk prices would undermine the market for replacement stock.
However, Mr McCarthy said strong local demand for heifers, and tight numbers, was keeping a good floor on the trade.
He forecast that the real flush of dairy heifers is nearly a month off hitting the marts.
Meanwhile, exporters of dairy stock report that high domestic prices, and the euro’s recent recovery against sterling, was working against the trade.
While exporters are still moving heifers to Britain, the numbers involved are back to normal.
Source Farm Ireland